Having conquered social media, became ridiculously wealthy, and had a movie made about his company all before the age of 30, one could only wonder what Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg does in his spare time. It turns out, the hoodie-wearing CEO is pretty into politics.
According to multiple reports, Zuckerberg is part of a new group of tech executives and political consultants behind a new startup lobbying organization. The group, headed up by Joe Green, a former college roommate of the Facebook creator, aims to make both noise and persuasive arguments for issues relating to the U.S.’ economic competitiveness internationally. Some of those issues are also rumored to be related to education reform.
Political blog The Hill suggested that the first topic the currently-unnamed group will address is comprehensive immigration reform, with a push on the subject timed to coincide with proposal submissions from both the Senate and the House. This wouldn’t be the first time Zuckerberg has spoken out publicly on the topic; he was one of 100 CEOs to sign an open letter to President Obama and Congress earlier this month asking for immigration reform to help tech companies and trade associations employ highly-skilled foreign workers.
Alongside Green and Zuckerberg, the organization has reportedly rounded up well-known Washington political consultants including Joe Lockhart, co-founder of the Glover Park Group and former White House press secretary during the Clinton administration, in its initial planning sessions. Other group members are Jon Lerner and Rob Jesmer, two well-respected Republican consultants, and New York-based advertising agency SS+K. The agency worked on President Obama’s 2012 re-relection campaign and multiple White House campaigns under the Obama administration. You may remember their work if you saw Girls creator Lena Dunham’s controversial “first time” election ad – yep, they were responsible for that.
Combining consultants and ad agencies with experience on both sides of the political divide, as well as the mix of large corporate interests pushing what’s looking like progressive agenda, suggests that this new group may be something that both the left and right wings will find themselves dealing with in the upcoming months without knowing what side of each issue the group will fall on. According to one early report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Spin Cycle blog, Zuckerberg is deeply involved with this new venture, pledging “millions to the cause – one source says as much as $20 million – and has gotten others to pledge as much as $2 million to $5 million each.”
A Facebook spokesperson has declined to comment on the subject. We’ll have to wait and see if Mark Zuckerberg will pull an Arnold Schwarzenegger.